President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated the Bicentenary celebrations of Presidency University on Friday in Kolkata. Speaking on the occasion, the President said the Presidency University is not merely a collection of buildings or an expression of language. The University stands for advancement, progress, thinking and questioning. The early students of the Hindu school from which the College and later the University emerged were known for their liberal thoughts, ideas, and philosophy as well as opposition to all prejudice. 

Mr. Mukherjee said the Presidency College gave birth to and nurtured generations of students who went on to influence and change the course of our country’s history. 

“”What is most remarkable is that this institution which was established primarily to educate the lower bureaucracy of the colonial rulers, went on to not only question and reform everything archaic, but also emerged as the hot bed of anti-colonial ideas and actions,”” he said. Established as a place for liberal, scientific and secular education based on Western ideas of nationalism, Presidency College became the institutional as well as intellectual manifestation of Bengali renaissance, he said. Although Presidency continuously upheld academic excellence, its most outstanding trait lay in its ability to question, discuss and debate every established dogma.  Be it socio-religious beliefs, political construct or ideological tenets, Presidency as an institution always dwelt upon the thesis and the anti thesis before arriving at the synthesis, that suited our nation the most, he told the gathering.

The President said as a great institution of modern world, Presidency’s biggest achievement has been its ability to inculcate a love for learning. Not just learning that is contained within the scope of the text books and syllabus, but knowledge that is acquired by plunging into the depths of subjects.  

It is this eternal pursuit that produced luminaries such as Bankim Chandra Chatterjee and Anandaram Barooah in literature.  S N Bose, M N Saha, P C Mahalnobish, Amal Kumar Raychaudhuri, Shyamal Sengupta and Ashoke Sen in the field of basic Science.  Amartya Sen and Sukhamoy Chakraborty in the field of economics and alumnus such as Dr Rajendra Prasad (India’s First President), Muhammed Ali of Bogra (Prime Minister of Pakistan) and Abu Sayeed Chowdhury (The President of Bangladesh). The President said he was happy that this rich tradition is continuing and expressed the hope that it will continue to flourish.

The President said students should not become mere salesman for commercial products but should contribute to research, innovation and enhancement of knowledge. He expressed concern over the fact that none from an Indian University has won the Nobel Prize since Sir CV Raman and only a few Indian universities find a place in the top of international ranking of Universities. He said as Visitor of 126 Central Institutions, he has been asking institutions of higher learning to focus on research and innovation as well as improving their international rankings.  He called upon Presidency University to become the number one university of the country and to get a top position in international rankings.”

By TIS Staffer
the authorBy TIS Staffer

Leave a Reply